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Bow wonder! Cello prodigy plays Red Hook show

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Call him Yo Yo Shaw!

Nine-year-old cellist Shaw Edwards will take a bow in Red Hook this weekend, playing a short solo show of Baroque tunes at the Brooklyn Waterfront Arts Coalition on Oct. 2. The pint-size performer from Sunset Park — who has already played Carnegie Hall three times —will play Johann Bach’s four cello suites during his 30-minute performance. The fifth-grader says that he loves the smooth, deep sounds of his instrument, and being able to perform for an audience.

“I like playing the cello because I love the sound that it makes, and it rings a lot,” said Shaw Edwards. “People smile when I play.”

A student at PS 230 in Kensington, Shaw picked up a bow for the first time about five years ago, when instructors at the Brooklyn College Conservatory let him pluck the strings of a few different instruments. The larger string instrument had him at “cello,” according to his father.

“They shoved an instrument in his hand — a violin and a cello,” said TJ Edwards. “He tried the cello and that was it — we started cello lessons there. He took to it right away.”

The cello prodigy also plays the flute and piano. Shaw was introduced to music before he could crawl, when his older sister started playing the piano, and early exposure to the instrument is probably part of the reason he is so talented, his dad said.

“He always banged on the keys when he was just an infant,” said TJ Edwards. “All that music when he was just an infant may have helped affect his mind or brain.”

Shaw — whose favorite piece to play is Joseph Haydn’s Concerto in C Major, Number One — also enjoys basketball and running, but he enjoys the music so much that he makes time to practice the cello for about two hours each day, and the piano for 30 minutes, his dad said.

“He’s just a really happy kid and this is what he does — he does cello,” he said “He enjoys it. It’s just who he is, it’s his identity and it’s great.”

Shaw has some ambitions for the future, but for now he said that he is focused on just playing music.

“I kinda want to be famous,” said Shaw, “but it’s really great to have the gift that I can play the cello and I’m good at it.”

Shaw Edwards at Brooklyn Waterfront Arts Coalition [499 Van Brunt St. between Reed Street and the water in Red Hook, (917) 842-3737, www.bwac.org]. Oct. 2 at 1 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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